The American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC/History Center) is home to the Ellis Island Passenger Database. This awe-inspiring resource was unveiled by The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation in 2001, for the first time making readily available nearly 65 million passenger arrival records for travelers entering the Port of New York 1820 – 1957.
To enhance your guests’ unique experience, the Foundation and AFIHC research experts will design a program that best meets your interests and needs. The core component will be guests conducting individual searches in the History Center, which is located on the first floor of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and easily accessible from the Baggage Room and Great Hall.
AFIHC can remain open for up to four hours, accommodating as many as 160 sessions. Your program can be customized further with additional offerings such as personalized research for VIPs (research conducted in advance of your event), tailored Q&A sessions, and commemorative gifts for guests.
The Ellis Island Passenger Database project took years to complete. In 1996, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the National Park Service partnered with FamilySearch to digitize and index records that were originally preserved on microfilm and stored with the National Archives.
When AFIHC was unveiled on April 17, 2001, the Ellis Island/Port of New York arrival records became available in-person and online for the first time. Millions were inspired to begin exploring their family history; within two days an unprecedented 26 million people visited the database. Today, genealogy is one of the world’s most popular hobbies. Each year at AFIHC, our expert researchers help tens of thousands of visitors discover their family’s immigration story. The database is also free to search on our website, which offers a library of educational resources and research tips.
Replica passenger manifests, ship images, and other collectibles are available as archival-quality keepsakes. With more than 30% of Americans tracing at least one ancestor through Ellis Island and the Port of New York, the American Family Immigration History Center is an essential experience on one’s genealogical journey. To learn more, visit EllisIsland.org/Records.
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